Disability Advocates Welcome Pledge to Remove NDIA Staff Cap
8 August 2018 at 5:12 pm
Labor’s pledge to remove the arbitrary National Disability Insurance Agency staff cap has been welcomed by disability advocates, who say they do not want any more money spent on external contractors.
Labor shadow ministers Linda Burney and Senator Carol Brown announced on Wednesday a Shorten Labor government would remove the arbitrary NDIA staff cap, freeing the agency to “deliver quality services to Australians with disability”.
Burney said: “People with disability, their families and advocates have long been raising concerns about the staff cap – including delays and poor quality planning.
“NDIA staff work incredibly hard – and this arbitrary staff cap is just putting more unnecessary pressure on them.”
https://t.co/uq3yQ51dmp so pleased to announce lifting the #NDIA staff cap. participants, carers and advocates have long raised concerns about staff cap, incl. delays and poor quality planning. staff work hard, but this arbitrary cap places unnecessary pressure on them.
— Linda Burney MP (@LindaBurneyMP) August 8, 2018
The pledge aligns with recommendations from the Productivity Commission, which said last year the federal government should “remove the cap on staff employed directly by the [NDIA].”
The NDIA – which has had a staff cap of 3,000 employees since 2014 – recently committed more than $145 million for contract and temporary staff and has also outsourced call centre functions to the multinational, Serco.
Senator Brown said the staff cap had created a false economy, “forcing the NDIA to rely on outsourcing and contractors”.
“The cap makes it harder to develop a first-class public sector workforce with the outstanding skills in delivering disability supports that will be needed into the future,” Brown said.
“The staff cap isn’t the NDIA’s fault – this is the Turnbull government’s policy, and it has to go.”
Disability advocates welcomed the move and railed against any further plans to outsource NDIA services.
AFDO supports Labor's pledge to scrap the #NDIS staff cap.
— Ross Joyce (@AFDO_CEO) August 8, 2018
Therese Sands, the co-CEO of People with Disability Australia (PWDA), told Pro Bono News it was “bad policy” to have a staffing cap on the agency responsible for “delivering a once in a generation reform”.
“The NDIS is an essential part of our social infrastructure and we want expertise, skills and capacity built into the agency, including the expertise, skills and capacity of people with disability, so the agency can deliver on its promise of the NDIS to people with disability,” Sands said.
“We are told everyday by people with disability about enormous problems with plan delays, review delays, lack of expertise in terms of disability and lack of accessible information, [which] is hampering the successful implementation of the NDIS.”
Sands said she did not want the NDIA to spend any more money on external contractors, while again calling on the federal government to remove the staffing cap.
“The Productivity Commission recommended removal of the staffing cap because of its adverse impacts on delivering the NDIS and we again call on the government today to implement that recommendation and lift the staffing cap on the [NDIA].”